Bio: Vilmantas Kaliunas was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. He received his first piano lesson from his father at the age of four before he started playing the oboe at the age of eleven. After studying conducting and oboe in Vilnius, he came to Germany in 1993 and continued his oboe studies with Prof. Armin Aussem at the Conservatory of Music Saarbrücken. Since 1998, Kaliunas is principal oboe in the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern. During his time in Saarbrücken, he worked with conductors like Paavo Järvi, Andrey Boreyko, Christian Thielemann and Heinz Holliger. Conducting Masterclasses with Prof. Karl- Heinz Bloemeke, Prof. Lutz Köhler or Prof. Jorma Panula and regular assistance for Maestro Karl Marek Chichon were initial impulses for Kaliunas to focus on his career as a conductor. Vilmantas Kaliunas studied conducting at the University of Music “Franz Liszt” in Weimar with renowned Prof. Nicolas Pasquet. Since 2014 he has conducted the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival Orchestral Academy and assisted conductors such as David Newman and Christoph Eschenbach. He works with soloists and prizewinners of the ARD International Music Competition like Tanja Becker-Bender, Jone Kaliunaite-Fassbender or Guilhaume Santana. From 2011 to 2015, Kaliunas was Music Director of the Saarlouis Symphony Orchestra. As a guest conductor, he regularly works with the Berlin Sinfonietta, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Thuringinia Philharmonic Orchestra Gotha and the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Pazardjik Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria) and the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra (Lithuania). In 2016 he conducted the premiere and led the whole production of “Rigoletto” at the Ukraine State Opera of Dnepropetrovsk.